12/04/2011 12:07PM

Gulfstream: Soaring Empire points to defense of Hal's Hope title

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Bob Coglianese
Soaring Empire, who won the Hal's Hope last January, will likely make his 2012 debut in the same race next month.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.- Soaring Empire, winner of the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope in his 2011 debut, will be back to defend that title,  trainer Cam Gambolati said on Sunday.

Soaring Empire has not started since winning Monmouth Park’s Majestic Light Stakes on July 31. He worked for just the second time since that outing early Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park, going a half mile in 46 seconds and galloping out five-eighths in 58.40 in company with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard.

Soaring Empire ran three times here last winter, following his victory in the Hal’s Hope with second-place finishes behind Tackleberry in both the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint and Gulfstream Park Handicap.

“He had a problem that we had to take care and gave him some time off after the Majestic Light,” said Gambolati.  “I never expected him to work that fast this morning but the track is very fast and Julien said he felt good.”

Gambolati said he has nominated Soaring Empire to the inaugural Harlan’s Holiday overnight stakes on Dec. 17 but in all likelihood will pass that spot and await the Hal’s Hope four weeks later.

“It’s not impossible but extremely unlikely that he’ll go in the Harlan’s Holiday,” said Gambolati. “We’ll just try to get him ready for the Hal’s Hope. Where we’ll go after that I’m not sure although in his last two races he sat back and made good runs, he seems to be maturing with age, so if all goes well we might think about the Donn.”

The Grade 1 Donn will be run at 1 1/8 miles on Feb.  11.

Pomeroys Pistol ready for Sugar Swirl

Trainer Amy Tarrant confirmed Sunday that Pomeroy Pistol will run Saturday in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl Handicap. Pomeroy Pistol, working for the first time since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, went five furlongs in 1:01.20 Sunday at Palm Meadows.

“She did a little more than I wanted. I only wanted her to go a half, but she went five eighths and she was like a locomotive,” said Tarrant.

Trickmeister gearing up for his return

Another big name coming off an extended vacation to work at Gulfstream after the first renovation break on Sunday was the undefeated Trickmeister who breezed six furlongs in 1:11.84 for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. Trickmeister has been idle since dominating the Pleasant Colony at Saratoga by nearly a dozen lengths in August 2010 for his fourth win in as many starts.